Don’t get too excited guys, but I’m about to tell you something pretty revolutionary. There are three steps you can take to help make sure you actually get your fucking work done every day. Which would be nice, wouldn’t it? Because then your biz might reach great new heights, instead of seeing you stuck scrabbling client work together at the last second and eating microwaveable meals every day because YOU JUST DON’T HAVE TIME TO COOK.
Newsflash: You DO have time to cook, and to do everything else you want to do with your life too. You just need to be smarter with your time. Here’s how.
Ridiculously simple, but do you do it? The power of actually writing down what you’re going to do each day is insane. When I first started my business, I relished being able to do whatever the fuck I wanted every day. But a lot of what I wanted to do involved sitting around eating cake and watching Game of Thrones. The freedom of running your own business is pretty intoxicating, but that freedom won’t last long if you don’t actually put it to good use. I noticed an immediate surge in my productivity when I actually started deciding in advance what I was going to do each day.
I recommend planning everything for the week ahead on Sunday night (or Monday morning, if you’re a quick planner and won’t let your whole day get thrown off track by deciding what to do). I guess Friday afternoon would work too.
2. But Don’t Plan Too Much
After I finally got my arse into gear and decided to become more productive, I went all out on the planning front. I experimented with lots of different techniques, most of which failed. For a very brief period I tried plotting my work days by the hour. That didn’t last long because, turns out, planning in such intricate detail is pretty fucking tedious, and things are WAY less likely to get done. Because if you go over time on one task, the next thing gets pushed back, and eventually you just throw your hands in the air and decide to eat an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food instead, vowing to get back on the case tomorrow.
Personally, I plan TWO things each day. Sounds like nothing, right? But it works like this: I do one ‘big’ task in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Ridiculously fucking simple. Afterwards, I will do all the little tidy-up jobs like answering emails and responding to comments; Day to day stuff that doesn’t need planning, it just needs doing. You may choose to do things differently to this. I am the kind of gal who, once I start something, wants to finish it. I’m not a big fan of breaking tasks up into tiny little segments and doing them a bit at a time until I’m done. But maybe that would work better for you. The important thing is simply not to schedule too much. In fact, you should probably schedule LESS than you think you’ll be able to do. Because inevitably you will be wrong.
And don’t you dare put personal items on that list. Work. Stuff. ONLY.
3. Stick to the Plan
This is the toughest bit of all, of course. But fortunately, since you’ve only written down about two things to do for the day, actually doing them is not that hard. It won’t seem overwhelming. I recommend getting into the habit of sitting down to start your work after you’ve performed a certain task each day — that certain task will act as a trigger, so you’ll be more likely to get started with your work. For me, it’s getting washed and dressed. Gone are my days of lazing around in my pyjamas until midday. (Let’s be real here: nobody does good work in pyjamas.) Every day, I now get washed and dressed as soon as I get up. And then I start my work.
And That’s It
I still don’t think I’ve ever managed a week in which I do every single thing I set out to do. But I sure as hell get a lot more done than I would’ve otherwise.
Now go and buy thee a daily planner.